Using a secure website form to protect confidential information
With Web-form-buddy you can use a secure web form to collect private and confidential information from your web site. You can do this with full 256 bit TLS encryption - and yet there are no scripts or certificates to install on your server. At the same time you have complete control of the design of your web pages and web forms (which you publish on your web server in the normal way).
A secure web form is appropriate for sensitive, private information such as personal information, legal information, etc.. If it's the kind of information that would be best kept locked up in a filing cabinet at your home or office - then this web-form-buddy encrypted form option is for you (If it's more private than that you need a different solution!). Even if the information you are collecting is not especially sensitive, you may want to use an encrypted web form just to give your users confidence in your web site!
How web form TLS works
Information that is entered into a secure, encrypted form on your web site goes first to your Web-form-buddy script. Think of this as a telephone conversation between the user with her browser and the server running the script. In the case of an encrypted web form this conversation is protected - rather like the hot line that is said to exist between the President of the USA and the Kremlin. The protection for the encrypted web form is achieved by an Internet technology called TLS (Transport Layer Security). If your web user is browsing with, say, Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, they will see the padlock icon appear, and that is there to indicate that the communication channel is secured by TLS. Other browsers have similar ways of showing the user that the connection from the user's desktop to the secure web form is safe.
In the second step of the process you need to get to see the data that has been sent from your web site. In a regular form this is achieved by sending you the form results in an email. However sending information by standard email is a little like sending a postcard by snail mail - the contents can be pretty much read by anyone!
So instead, when Web-form-buddy is operating in secure mode, you are notified by email that some new form data has arrived, but the confidential and private information is not included in the email. What happens is that this data is encrypted and saved on our server. You are then able to log in to your Web-form-buddy account and retrieve this information through a TLS protected channel, and this keeps your sensitive information away from prying eyes.
Web form security without the hassle
To set up an encrypted web form without Web-form-buddy is technically complicated and expensive. Your web server will need to be TLS-enabled with a valid, current security certificate and key chain. But more than that, you will need your own application software that can encrypt the data during such time as it resides on your server, and you will need a means of retrieving the data that will not compromise security. But with Web-form-buddy you can achieve full 256 bit TLS web form encryption for your confidential data without requiring any special technology on your server - all for less than $4/month!
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